Archive for Pan Zhao

Needle and Thread

I am loving my new book Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women edited by Jane Hirshfield. It’s really amazingly beautiful. Today I was reading this poem by Pan Zhao, the only woman to hold the post of Imperial Historian during the Han Dynasty in China, and it made me think of DebraAnn my bloggy friend over at Tangled Stitch who inspires me with the beauty of her work:

Needle and Thread
Tempered, Annealed, the hard essence of autumn metals
finely forged, subtle, yet perdurable and straight,

By nature penetrating deep yet advancing by inches
to span all things yet stitch them up together,

Only needle-and thread’s delicate footsteps
are truly broad-ranging yet without beginning!

“Withdrawing elegantly” to mend a loose thread,
and restore to white silk a lamb’s-down purity…

How can those who count pennies calculate their worth?
They may carve monuments yet lack all understanding.
Pan Zhao (48-117?) Trans. Richard Mather & Rob Swigart
from Woman in Praise of the Sacred

And Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

The Healing Hand (c) Sybil Archibald
The Healing Hand (c) Sybil Archibald